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Sunday, August 21, 2016

H & R Block Saga

So, I had mentioned awhile ago that H & R Block still had our taxes - but let me start at the beginning. David for some reason had been late in getting our taxes together this year and he was not crazy about our accountant in WV. I had suggested he go to a friend's nephew that is a CPA but he made the Executive Decision to go to H & R Block in Waynesburg - that was back in April. When he went down with all of our paperwork he was told this was above what they usually do so he would be charged extra. "Extra" was a total of FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN DOLLARS. But he was a desperate man so he left them there. They filed for an extension which we though they would, but then we waited. And waited. They finally ponied them up weeks later, David signed and sent them off.
Now, we sold a home in WV last year and they have these weird tax laws in which they take it out, then give it back when you file because you don't live in WV. And it takes for-ev-er, you can't get mad because then they "lose" your paperwork or just won't talk to you. So we waited, waited, then David called - turned out that H & R Block had filled out the wrong forms. David went down and the woman that owns the business looked over the taxes that had been filed - and let David know they had ALL been done incorrectly. That we did not get back what we should have but also, because the idiot she had let do our taxes didn't know what she was doing, we would get flattened next year because she had somehow filed us has having rental instead of selling a house. The "accountant" was now hiding from her phone and was AWOL.
The owner assured us they would get them fixed by the following week and that's when David was off to LI - he came back and they weren't done but we were assured they had two people working on it.
Did you know that H & R Block does not hire accountants or CPAs? I didn't know that either until I went to look up the owner's CPA license - she doesn't have one! H &R Block gives them a course in taxes and  that's it. Apparently your hamster could pass it given the experience we had. Anyhoo, David called the next week and now they are not returning our calls - or our tax forms or our money. Three weeks down the road they finally redid the WV forms - and had not still figured out how to fix our taxes. A MONTH at this point had passed and I told David just to go get them - I mean would you actually want someone that could not figure out what to do after a month fixing your taxes?? Me neither! David went to get them and they are now at a real CPA's office to be fixed.
If you're wondering we did get our money back - David called the corporate office as we had no other choice and a full refund came in the mail, after 4 months of inept attempts at doing our taxes, not to mention the aggravation and trips down to their office. Anyone considering going to H & R Block I would suggest you either get Turbo Tax if your taxes are run of the mill or go to REAL accountant, you'll save yourself time and aggravation, not to mention money. And no, we still have not gotten our money back from WV.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

End Of An Era.

I have often found as I got past my forties it was a bit odd that I still had grandparents. Most people say their final farewells as they enter their 20's or 30's - but my grandfather Huecker passed away when I had children, my grandmother Carter left us quite a few years later, Grandpa Carter in 2008 and just this morning my last remaining Grandmother - Grandma Henderickson. To say she was a character was putting it mildly, we certainly went around.  Honestly, she drove me crazy at times, but some of her antics (and wildly politically incorrect views) are legendary. She was 4'11" on a good day which is how I became Julia - since I towered over her Little Julie just stopped fitting, but grandma was fierce despite her size. My mother once told me that when she was married to Grandpa Huecker they were out at a bar and some man insulted Grandpa. Since he had just had surgery she invited the man to step outside and from what I understand they had to pull her off him as she was whacking his head on the sidewalk. I remember the advice she gave me once - always do your dishes and your house will look clean, always wash your face before you go to bed and if you get in a fight with someone bigger than you get them on the ground - because once you're on the ground everyone is the same size. I remember this because I got in trouble in an English class for using this as "the most useful advice anyone has ever given you" (the teacher was sure I had made it up as she could not believe anyone's grandmother would say that to them!). 
She was a very social person, Elks Club, Bingo - she loved it.  Her opinions were strong, wildly incorrect at times and often made you wish she would lower her voice - but when you talked to another family member about her latest exploit, they could always top you. As I grew up and older we grew apart - she did not like the man I married and was quite verbal about it at times. But that was grandma. Moving away didn't help, she went into a nursing home after losing her sight and even though I saw her on my infrequent visits home, Christmas cards, distance moved me further. I do not speak to my father's family, we simply do not get along. There have been harsh words in the past on both sides - I take full responsibility for what I've said and always had, but some fences do not need to be mended, do they? My father asked me this morning if I would be coming home for the funeral and I told him no, it would be uncomfortable for me and I think other people would be too, it would be pointless. I'm amazed she made it to 99, that was quite a feat in itself, but Grandma always did know how to make an entrance - and an exit. And she certainly did give us all something to talk about. 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Old Friends

One of my best friends had a family reunion last weekend which weirdly was near me. I find it a little weird because as everyone knows I live in The Middle Of Nowhere and yet two of my best friends have family in the area. Now, Kim and I have know each other for most of our lives - we knew of each other for years as it was a small town. But then we became best friends when I was 16 and she was 14 (? it was around there) We officially  met at a slumber party thrown by Scary Ann who's mother encouraged drinking, smoking and boys. Nope, not kidding - she would buy the booze, we all smoked of course and if boys came by, well, she didn't see a thing. We thought she was perfect. (now she would be on probation). Anyhoo, I met Kim on a fold out couch and from the moment we started talking, that was it. I think I talked to her for two weeks straight.. After I met her she introduced me to her two best friends, then there were four of us. (Nancy joined the group a little later). And that was it - we have over the years changed the configuration, we've argued, laughed and supported each other through distance and time.  

Kim actually moved out of town when she was 18 and I was 20, she had gotten married and went to live in Virginia. She and Stephen came up quite often the first year, but then as they got used to being away from home, it became less and less. But we never lost contact - it has been years of rare visits, letters, phone calls, now texting, emails and Facebook. You do not have to be physically close to be a best friend, some people do not realize that - you just need to love that person forever and keep in touch. I had not seen Kim for years but when I arrived at the hotel she was in the hall waiting for me. There is never any awkwardness, we pick up right from where we left off. We use our time together wisely and we talk. We talk as if we will never see each other again, and we laugh all the time because we really are funnier together. And we are funny, no one makes me laugh as hard as my best friends do, it is crying, being asked to leave the restaurant kind of laughing. 
In one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies one of the character Will becomes cursed to only come onshore one day every ten years - his beloved Elizabeth makes the choice to go ahead and stay with him and at the end of the movie she is standing on the beach ten years later waiting for his ship to appear. I'm sure a lot of people found that sad and unfair - one day every ten years, how could you do that? But you can - because when that day happens all the waiting falls away - and then you have that day forever. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Never Too Hot To Knit

I've been making this shawl for what appears to be forever, the pattern is Memphis out of Egyptian Shawls for anyone interested. It's about 15 rows to the end which doesn't sound too bad - until you realize each row is close to 700 stitches......and then there's the edging which is a project in itself. But it will be done at some point. It's just at the boring part where I just go around and around each row taking up to half an hour. I have about half a dozen more projects I've been thinking of  - most knitters I know have 3 or 4 projects going at once so they don't get bored. When you can't take it anymore you just pick up project B, then the other one, then back to the first one. But I just can't do that,  I like to complete one before starting the next - i want it done!

And no, the heat doesn't bother me, well not as a normal rule. We have central air but David sometimes likes to pretend to save money. There is nothing more fun than coming home to a house that feels like you'be been dropped into your own little section of hell. Better yet David will insist the weak fans are cooling the house off fine. The dogs arrange themselves hopefully near the air vents on the floor looking for a stray breeze - you can almost feel the tumbleweeds wanting to blow through the living room. The temperatures have been soaring in the mid to high 90's so the air is ON. David  actually turned it off yesterday but turned it back on rather quickly when I stood at the top of the stairs vowing I would end him if he touched it again. Electricity here, unlike Long Island is not expensive, running the air costs us about 75, maybe 100 dollars a month - and considering it's really only run part way through July to August we can afford it. 

It has gotten extremely hot this week - when you open the back door it's a furnace blast. I take the dogs straight to the woods where we can get a little relief in the shade - I get no objection to coming back in. My garden is watered every other day to keep it from giving up. Next year I will be doing a raised garden and no more seedlings! Last couple of years I grew from seeds and could not give it away fast enough. This year I decided to use started plants  and they are not producing too well. One zucchini of almost edible size has been squeezed out at great effort, there are two more that look like they started, then pooped out and gave up. Color me disappointed. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Where There's A Will There's A Fight

So, David did finally make it to Long Island  after an overnight stay which he paid for as the delay was an act of god as opposed to an act of American Airlines I suppose. His mother was doing better by the time he got there, her blood pressure was stabilized and she was glad to see him. He went to see his father - he stayed with my parents as apparently his sister  has had to move back home and is now living with their parents. David was there about 20 minutes when his father casually mentioned that everyone had been cut out of the will with the exception of  his sister who will now be inheriting EVERYTHING. David had the reaction most of us would - I mean, really - can you imagine coming home to see your mother and having that bombshell dropped on you? What a mess - it's really not the money. David's parents are older but are in fairly good health, it's a rare thing for someone to outlive their money these days. But as a  friend of mine said there's no better way to make someone feel unwanted and unloved than making sure you treat them as less than another sibling. The fact is there are four children that family, not one. But - as horrible and selfish people can be, there's not much you can do but let it go and move on. 

David decided he had come to visit his mother and that's what he did - there was a pall over the visit, but in the end he was glad he had gone. We live so far we rarely get home and chances are good this will be the last time he sees his parents, - it's just a shame this information could not have been shared well before his visit - or after.  We are still selling the house in Waynesburg, no takers so far but we have had some interest. We have a back up plan too. I've been busy at work, I've been working on tracheostomy and ventilators - did well on the trach and vent will be Monday - I'm reading and knitting of course, what else is new? 

And we are battling H & R Block - for the record I did tell David not to go there but he panicked and did it anyhow. They fucked up our taxes - sorry for the language but there is no other way to put it. They have two CPAs working on it and are now not answering our phone calls. David called the head office and lodged a complaint so hopefully that will get things moving. We still have not gotten our refund from WV because they sent the wrong form and when the owner looked it over it  turned out the jackass had also listed our flip house as a rental - we will get flattened for that next year if it's not fixed. But we have some fun stuff going on - the granddaughters are doing very well (I talked to Jackson today), they are now four months old - 13 and 14 lbs and right on target. It's amazing what modern medicine can do, isn't it? Jackson and Brandi are really loving the area too, David is shipping Jackson his shotgun for duck hunting season and you know who is now thinking about relocating.... (duck hunting? you have duck hunting?)....I"m almost done with the shawl I'm knitting but it's slow going, the last 19 rows are killing me!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Going South

David said the other day "I know things happen, but do they always have to happen all at once?" - this has been a rough couple of months. David got ahold of WV to find out where the taxes they owed us were - H &R Block (who charged us over $400 by the way because our taxes are not standard) sent the wrong form so he had to call the owner. THEN he had to go down there because not only did that idiot screw up the WV portion by sending the wrong form, but she managed to fuck it all up. Excuse my french but there is no other way to say it. So they have two CPAs working to fix it, hopefully by next week and the only silver lining there is we overpaid. The fucking moron that did the taxes in the first place is mysteriously not answering her phone anymore. Hmm. I did get my car back which I am so glad for!! - no more wee little toy car and it looks almost OK but there is a gap on one side of the hood so I have to figure out when I can bring it back to be looked at. It's not a huge deal but just One More Thing. 

The house in Waynesburg has been looked at quite a lot but no takers so far unless we would like to hold another mortgage. Nope. We dropped the price a little which is not a big deal - we usually have 3 numbers to work with. The first number is the Magic Number which is where we start and if  we get it - it is dancing in the streets and margaritas all around, we've done it once. The next number is the Good Number where we not only break even but make a salary which is where we usually land. Then there is the Lowball Number - that one I always think of as the one where we get out of town with our underpants intact and nothing else,. We did that in East Stroudburg when we accidentally bought a house in the land of foreclosures. There actually is one more number that we have done once- Take A Bath Number, that one really sucks - the house isn't selling or you accidentally rent to own to the Freeloader who lives in your house til the sheriff comes to evict her. I still hope she is covered in boils and has hemorrhoids. Bastards.  This house was such a big project it took longer than expected which it feels like For-ev-ver.

And now David is winging his way to Long Island, or at least trying to. His mother, who is 94 this year fell and broke her hip about a month ago, she's been in rehab and was doing a bit better, but had a real set back earlier in the week. She is be a bit more stable, but David wanted to go see her so he finished up here and I dropped him off at the airport for a 4pm flight. Which got delayed due to thunderstorms so he sat in the plane for about two hours before it took off. Then when it arrived to Philly all the flights going to Islip had departed so he is stuck in Philadelphia for the night and then will depart in the morning. He'll be sleeping in the airport tonight as he has no idea where the hotels are or how to get there - American Airlines is not being very helpful.  He's a bit upset but what can you do? We'll just do what we always do, just roll along until it gets better. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Have a Happy Fourth!

Well, the Fourth is a bit of a dud around here - they cancelled a few firework shows on the radio because it's raining of course. There are lots of firework stands around here but I don't think they're as popular as they were when I was a kid. They were illegal on Long Island but everyone always had them because A) unless you were into heavy artillery or someone complained the police ignored you and B) there was always someone doing a road trip down to the Carolinas where they were legal. Whoever went brought enough for everyone so as soon as it got dark it was all Roman Candles and Whirly birds, strings of firecrackers and sparklers that burned your hands. For some reason I think we were given a lit cigarette to use to light the fuses - but this was all before things were dangerous and there were actual enforceable rules about children. We used to go down to the beach with relatives and friends - it was so exciting running in the sand with explosions and lights. But then they started actually enforcing the rules and it became frowned upon to allow children to set things off, so the fireworks were left to actual shows. 

We don't have too much in the way of fireworks being set off here - but enough to freak out Molly, she does not like it. At all. Last night we had some intermittent ones set off, Reuben went about his business which includes snuggling and trying to lick the cat - Molly was having none of it. She started pacing and panting, crying and trying to hide. When we went out for our last walk of the night she had her tail tucked the whole time - it was a short walk. We do not let the dogs sleep in the bed with us because, well quite frankly, they're annoying. They step on you, they lick your ears in an attempt to see if you'd like to get up and feed them, etc.. They sleep on a gigantic dog bed with blankets and a gate in front of our bedroom door - if they cannot see us we are presumably dead. Or eating cheese without them. Molly was inconsolable - I finally got up around 11 and schlepped down to the guest room and made the bed down there. Bob the cat joined me, Reuben came down to hop around and run off, Vincent peeked at me, decided there were no cat treats, bit me and left - not conducive to sleep. 

Molly came to stand by the bed and cry. She got in. She got out. She got in the closet and tangled up with the vacuum which required me to extricate her. She got back in the bed. Out. In the closet, out of the closet. In the tub where she attempted to dig a hole down to the basement. After ten minutes of listening to dog claws on porcelain I was like ARRGGHH and she ran up and down the stairs. At some point I passed out from sheer exhaustion and woke up with her plastered to my side - but asleep. Then she left, Reuben stopped by to jump on me a few times. Vincent came in around 3? 4? Who the hell knows. He bumped with his head, bit my nose and then paraded around the living room meowing until I got up so he could snub breakfast and go out. Bob darted out too because that's what she does. If you open a door she shoots out like an escapee from Alcatraz. Cripes, I'm tired just reading about this. Hopefully it will be a quieter night tonight.